Mix 1 cup boiling water and the 3/4 cup cocoa powder. Set aside.
Grease and flour two 8x1-1/2-inch or 9x1-1/2-inch round baking pans. Set aside.
In large mixing bowl, combine flour, 2 cups granulated sugar, the soda, and baking powder. Add the 1 cup milk, the eggs, oil, and almond extract. Beat with electric mixer on low speed until combined, scraping side of bowl. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes more. Add cocoa mixture; beat for 1 minute. Transfer to prepared pans.
Bake in 350 degree F oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near centers comes out clean. Let cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans. Cool completely. Cover and chill cake layers to make them easier to split.
Line baking sheet with foil. Butter foil; set aside. Spread 1/3 cup sugar in a small heavy skillet. Cook over medium heat without stirring until sugar melts and turns amber. Add hazelnuts; stir until coated. Turn mixture out onto baking sheet. Cool. Coarsely crush hazelnut mixture.
For filling, in a bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter, caramel topping, and the 2 tablespoons milk. Beat on low speed of electric mixer until smooth.
Prepare Chocolate Icing. To assemble torte, split each cake layer into three equal layers. Place one layer on serving plate; spread with about 1/3 cup Chocolate Icing. Top with another layer; spread with about 1/4 cup filling. Repeat layering, alternating icing with filling until all layers are assembled, ending with filling. (Or, if you like, cut each cake layer in half. Layer one-third of the Chocolate Icing on one layer and half the filling on another layer. Repeat layers, ending with filling.) Spread sides with Chocolate Icing. Press crushed hazelnut mixture onto sides. If you like, pipe Chocolate Icing onto top and garnish with additional hazelnuts. Makes 12 to 15 servings.